Application of Scenario-based Approaches in Leadership Research: An Action Research Intervention as Three Sets of Interlinked Practices

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 2014, 27 (6), pp. 551 - 573
Issue Date:
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© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media New York. This article illustrates how scenario planning (SP) and scenario analysis as can be conceptualised as practices contributing to an action research (AR) investigation of leadership development. The project described in this article was intended to strengthen leadership capacity in Australia’s rapidly changing aged care and community care sector. A research team comprising academics from three universities and managers from two faith-based not-for-profit organisations providing aged and community care participated in this study. As part of the research, two sets of scenario-based workshops were held: the first, to identify possible futures using SP; and the second, to deal with plausible scenarios these organisations are likely to face with the changes happening in the aged care environment in Australia by using scenario analysis. Although the researchers did not consider a link between practice theory and AR during the SP phase, practice theory became useful during the scenario analysis phase. The article includes a brief literature review followed by a discussion on the relationship between AR and practice theory. The processes used in the two sets of scenario workshops are then described in detail along with the data collected and analysed. The article concludes with some reflections on the use of scenarios in practice as well as an acknowledgment that practice theory would be useful in investigating leadership capability development.
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